Low ferritin symptoms
Home Open Mic. Low Ferritin Levels - Symptoms When there are decreased levels of ferritin, symptoms seen in the body will include signs of anemia but, it will also depend on the underlying cause. So, what are the symptoms of low ferritin levels?
Read on to find out Ferritin is a small protein that is present in blood. This protein is a very important molecule as it is responsible for storing iron that is ingested in the diet. Ferritin stores iron in a non-toxic form, as free iron is toxic to the body. Hence, when a person shows symptoms of low ferritin levels, then tests are done to check for the same.
Thus, when there are low ferritin levels, symptoms exhibited include those seen in diseases like anemia and restless leg syndrome. Before we go onto the symptoms, let us first see what leads to decreased levels of ferritin in the blood. Causes of Low Ferritin Levels There can be many different conditions that can lead to decreased levels of ferritin.
It is said that hypothyroidism is often implicated as a possible cause of this condition. This is because when there are low levels of thyroid hormone, then the amount of hydrochloric acid secreted in the stomach is quite less. Thus, there are low levels of ferritin, which leads to decreased absorption of iron. This is also seen in other diseases of the digestive tract where there is malabsorption in the gut.
Symptoms of Low Ferritin Levels The symptoms will depend on the underlying cause that is responsible for the decreased amount of ferritin in the blood. However, the most common symptom that is seen are symptoms of iron deficiency anemia. In this condition, the low iron symptoms include severe weakness, fatigue, low energy levels, easy mental and physical exhaustion, pale skin, headaches, etc. Basically, all these symptoms are seen because as there is a deficiency of iron in the blood, there will be low hemoglobin and hematocrit, which will lead to decreased amount of oxygen reaching the cells.
Thus, fatigue and overall weakness is seen. Other symptoms of anemia include brittle skin, hair loss. Chronic irritability, breathless on doing any kind of strenuous physical activity. If there are very low ferritin levels, symptoms will be quite severe, like dizziness, depression, difficulty swallowing, poor memory, etc.
Leg cramps is also a common symptom seen. In fact, low levels of ferritin have been associated with restless leg syndrome, wherein there is an irresistible urge to constantly move one's legs due to constant discomfort, that may be mild or severe in nature. Every one in five cases of people that complain of restless leg syndrome are diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia and low ferritin symptoms.
If a person has hypothyroidism, then besides the symptoms of low iron and oxygen levels in the body, he will also show symptoms of hypothyroidism, like lethargy, drowsiness, decreased metabolic rate, weight gain, intolerance towards cold, etc.
If the person has malabsorption syndrome, then there will mostly be other symptoms like deficiency of other minerals, vitamins and food groups seen. Hence, the types and severity of ferritin deficiency symptoms is largely dependent on the underlying cause, though, symptoms of iron deficiency anemia are almost always present.
The serum ferritin test is done to check for the total body iron storage and so, is really the best test to measure the iron status in the body. Although initially, when there are low ferritin levels, symptoms may not exist at all, that is, in borderline cases, there may not be any symptoms seen.
However, if symptoms do develop, then with the help of some simple investigations, this condition can be diagnosed and treated at the earliest.Ferritin, a protein in the body, stores iron and releases it when needed, acting as a mediator and a transporter for iron. The amount of ferritin in the body is directly related to the amount of iron in the body.
Low ferritin levels caused by poor iron absorption or chronic or acute bleeding can lead to potentially serious health complications. When you have low ferritin levels, you will also have low iron levels. Iron carries oxygen via the red blood cells. When iron levels drop, less oxygen travels through the body.
Initially, you will experience shortness of breath, perspiration and fatigue. Prolonged oxygen deprivation results in difficulty catching your breath and fainting. The skin becomes pale and the heart and lungs will be affected.
This can be a life-threatening event. The part of the red blood cell that includes oxygen and iron is called hemoglobin. When you have low ferritin and iron levels, your hemoglobin level drops as well.
The shape, size and volume of a red blood cell changes, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This morphology of red blood cells can be identified with a lab test. Symptoms of anemia include pale skin, pale nails, enlarged lymph nodes and spleen. Much like hemoglobin, myoglobin relies on iron and ferritin for proper function. When skeletal muscles are damaged in injury or exercise, myoglobin is released into the bloodstream and travels to the muscle site for repair. Myoglobin carries the needed oxygen and nutrients.
However, if myoglobin levels are low because of low ferritin, muscle repair will be delayed. Symptoms include increased muscle pain for a longer duration. Increased pain elevates the blood pressure and heart rate. Low ferritin levels can cause an irregular heartbeat. The heart muscle is fueled by both hemoglobin and myoglobin. This compounded condition results in inadequate heart beats and poor quality heart contractions.
The heart normally pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.Iron is very important in maintaining many body functions, including the production of hemoglobin, the molecule in your blood that carries oxygen.
Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails. Iron from the food you eat is absorbed into the body by the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract; the body only absorbs a small fraction of the iron you ingest. The iron is then released into the blood stream, where a protein called transferrin attaches to it and delivers the iron to the liver.
Iron is stored in the liver as ferritin and released as needed to make new red blood cells in the bone marrow. When red blood cells are no longer able to function after about days in circulationthey are re-absorbed by the spleen. Iron from these old cells can also be recycled by the body.
Iron deficiency is very common, especially among women and in people who have a diet that is low in iron. The following groups of people are at highest risk for iron-deficiency anemia:. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are related to decreased oxygen delivery to the entire body and may include:.
In an individual who is anemic from iron deficiency, these tests usually show the following results:. The peripheral smear or blood slide may show small, oval-shaped cells with pale centers. Your doctor will decide if other tests are necessary. Iron deficiency is common in menstruating and pregnant women, children, and others with a diet history of excessive cow's milk or low iron-containing foods. By talking with your doctor about your diet and medical history, your doctor may gain enough information to determine whether additional testing is needed.
In patients such as men, postmenopausal women, or younger women with severe anemia, the doctor may recommend additional testing. These tests may include the following:. Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose the cause of iron deficiency, or your doctor may be concerned that there is a problem other than iron deficiency causing the anemia.
These may include inherited blood disorders called thalassemiasin which red blood cells also appear small and pale, hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease but not sickle cell trait aloneor other blood disorders.
People with chronic infections or conditions such as kidney failure, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory disorders may also have small red blood cells. When the cause of the anemia is not clear, your doctor may refer you to a hematologist, a medical specialist in blood disorders,for consultation and further evaluation. Even if the cause of the iron deficiency can be identified and treated, it is still usually necessary to take medicinal iron more iron than a multivitamin can provide until the deficiency is corrected and the body's iron stores are replenished.
In some cases, if the cause cannot be identified or corrected, the patient may have to receive supplemental iron on an ongoing basis. The amount of iron needed to treat patients with iron deficiency is higher than the amount found in most daily multivitamin supplements.
The amount of iron prescribed by your doctor will be in milligrams mg of elemental iron. Most people with iron deficiency need mg per day of elemental iron 2 to 5 mg of iron per kilogram of body weight per day.
Ask your doctor how many milligrams of iron you should be taking per day. If you take vitamins, bring them to your doctor's visit to be sure.
There is no evidence that any one type of iron salt, liquid, or pill is better than the others, and the amount of elemental iron varies with different preparations. To be sure of the amount of iron in a product, check the packaging. In addition to elemental iron, the iron salt content ferrous sulfate, fumarate, or gluconate may also be listed on the package, which can make it confusing for consumers to know how many tablets or how much liquid to take to get the proper dosage of iron.
Iron is absorbed in the small intestine duodenum and first part of the jejunum.Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia — a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells.
Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body's tissues. As the name implies, iron deficiency anemia is due to insufficient iron. Without enough iron, your body can't produce enough of a substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen hemoglobin. As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired and short of breath. You can usually correct iron deficiency anemia with iron supplementation. Sometimes additional tests or treatments for iron deficiency anemia are necessary, especially if your doctor suspects that you're bleeding internally.
Initially, iron deficiency anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify. If you or your child develops signs and symptoms that suggest iron deficiency anemia, see your doctor. Iron deficiency anemia isn't something to self-diagnose or treat. So see your doctor for a diagnosis rather than taking iron supplements on your own.
Overloading the body with iron can be dangerous because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.
Iron deficiency anemia occurs when your body doesn't have enough iron to produce hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red color and enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout your body.
If you aren't consuming enough iron, or if you're losing too much iron, your body can't produce enough hemoglobin, and iron deficiency anemia will eventually develop. Mild iron deficiency anemia usually doesn't cause complications.
However, left untreated, iron deficiency anemia can become severe and lead to health problems, including the following:. Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as does someone who eats meat.
You can enhance your body's absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.
To prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants, feed your baby breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year. Cow's milk isn't a good source of iron for babies and isn't recommended for infants under 1 year.A low ferritin level indicates a deficiency of iron in the body.
This article provides some information about the causes and symptoms of low ferritin. Usually, those with hypothyroidism may have a low ferritin level. Wondering what is ferritin? It is a protein that stores iron, and releases the mineral in a controlled fashion.
The structure of this protein is like a hollow sphere. It is inside this sphere, that iron is stored in the Fe III oxidation state, which has to be changed to Fe II oxidation state, so that it can be released from the protein structure.
In case of iron deficiency in the body, ferritin molecules release the stored mineral in solvated form. In short, ferritin can control the level of iron in the body, thereby preventing conditions like iron deficiency or overload. What happens if the level of ferritin becomes low? A low ferritin level in the blood may indicate iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia that can cause various symptoms like fatigue.
A ferritin blood test shows the amount of ferritin in the body. The level of ferritin in the blood can be low, even if the hemoglobin and iron levels are normal. Such situations indicate initial stages of iron deficiency, in which the body lacks stored iron. A depletion in the level of ferritin in the blood can be caused by various factors. The major causes include low intake of iron-rich foods, long-term blood loss, as seen in women with heavy menstrual bleeding, etc.
Those with medical conditions like hemorrhoids, colon polyps, and ulcers, may develop bleeding in the intestinal tract, thereby causing long-term blood loss. Another reason for low ferritin is malabsorption of iron consumed. Poor absorption of iron causes a drop in the level of iron in the body. Such people may also show a low ferritin level.
In some cases, premature breakdown of red blood cells due to intravascular hemolysis also leads to symptoms of low ferritin level. The reference range for serum ferritin may vary with laboratories.
A person with a low ferritin level may develop symptoms, as the condition causes anemia. The symptoms can range from mild to moderate, and get severe as the level becomes too low. A low ferritin level may indicate conditions like hypothyroidism, vitamin C deficiency, or celiac disease.
Low Ferritin Levels - Symptoms
Treatment If the blood test result confirms low ferritin levels in your body, the doctor will recommend a change in diet. Consumption of iron-rich foods such as eggs, lean meat, and leafy vegetables like spinach, has to be increased. Apart from that, iron supplements and tonics may also be prescribed. In case of an underlying medical condition, it has to be treated properly.
Your doctor is the best person to guide you in this matter. Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly.Low ferritin levels can cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, hair loss, and difficulty exercising.
It is the primary form of iron that is stored in cells. Iron is an essential element that the body needs in order to produce red blood cells. Our bodies cannot produce iron, so it much absorb it from the foods or supplements that we consume. The majority of iron that we absorb is used to make hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells. Most of the remaining iron is stored as ferritin in the cells.
Eventually, the ferritin levels may drop which is the first indication of iron deficiency. If this deficiency continues, the ferritin stores will eventually be depleted, hemoglobin production will be reduced, and anemia low blood levels will result.
Therefore, a ferritin level is the earliest indicator we have to detect a deficiency of iron. In other words, the symptoms could also indicate a completely different issue than low ferritin. It can occur for weeks or even months before the ferritin levels are depleted to the point that iron and hemoglobin levels drop.
As a result, many patients may have symptoms of low iron, but they are not treated because it has not progressed to the point of causing anemia which would then show up on standard lab tests. Obviously, any level below 15 is "low" and should be addressed. However, people with ferritin levels in the "low normal" range of most laboratories can still be symptomatic. If they are treated they will usually feel better. Remember, a low or suboptimal ferritin level may be the first indicator of iron levels that are beginning to drop.
It may take weeks or even months before the other labs become abnormal enough to get the attention of your medical provider.
Let's discuss the most obvious:. Many studies have shown that low iron impairs proper thyroid function.Iron Deficiency Anemia, Ferritin and Fatigue - Testing and Diagnosis
Replacing low iron levels should result in an improvement in your thyroid function. This is especially important if you have known hypothyroidism. In many of those situations, the hair loss is often blamed on genetics or thyroid problems when it's actually from low iron.
As I discussed earlier, there is often a difference between a "normal" lab result and an "optimal" lab result. Other nutrient deficiencies should also be considered, including selenium, zinc, and l-lysine. Oxygen is required for normal energy production in the mitochondria of the cells. When the iron is low, oxygen transport may be impaired. This includes skeletal muscle. A decrease in energy production in skeletal muscles will result in a decrease in strength and exercise capacity.
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This will typically present as an increase in heart rate and worsening shortness of breath more than you would expect at your level of fitness while exercising. This makes sense if you think about it. If you have less oxygen getting to your tissues, then the heart rate will increase and the respiratory rate will increase to try to compensate. If your amount of exercise decreases, typically your body weight will increase which worsens insulin and leptin resistance. If you are experiences more shortness of breath during exercise than you think you should be having, you may want to consider checking your iron and ferritin levels.
Other nutrients such as zinc and vitamin D also affect the immune system, but if you are getting frequent infections, you may want to think about checking your iron and these other nutrient levels. That is because the root cause of the low ferritin or iron may also be causing other nutrients to be deficient.Your body needs iron for your red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of the cells. Low ferritin levels indicate that your body does not have sufficient iron.
Iron deficiency may be a sign of a serious health problem, that is why you need to understand the importance of ferritin levels. Low ferritin level is a sign of iron deficiency. This happens when your body does not obtain a sufficient amount of iron.
People who are suffering from anemia do not have enough red blood cells in their bodies. Iron attaches to red blood cells. If red blood cells are low, iron is also low. Low ferritin level is a strong sign of iron deficiency. This is dangerous in the sense that your body needs oxygen to survive. If your red blood cells lack iron, its purpose of transferring oxygen from the lungs to all parts of your body will be inhibited.
Iron also affects your metabolism, hormone production, growth, and development. Low ferritin levels mean that you have an iron deficiency. Remember that your body needs iron so that you get enough oxygen. If you are deprived of it, chances are your energy level will also be decreased.
You will become irritable, weak, tired, and unable to focus. You are prone to eating foods high in sugar, especially if you are tired. Foods can improve your energy levels. But we all know that the more food you eat, the more chances you will gain weight. Low ferritin levels indicate that you have an iron deficiency. Your doctor will most likely recommend a treatment to increase ferritin levels. The treatment depends upon the underlying cause of low ferritin levels.
Usually, your doctor will prescribe iron supplements. The dose of the supplement also depends on various factors. Anyway, iron is also available in liquid form. And this is made especially for children.